Simplified game helping Teravainen see even more success


Simplified game helping Teravainen see even more success

It wasn't a particularly hard shot, or one that featured any fancy stick-handling or maneuvering through the offensive zone; but it was just the one Chicago needed.

After the Blackhawks surrendered the 3-0 lead they captured in the first 20 minutes of Game 1 against the Minnesota Wild, Teuvo Teravainen sent a wrister Devan Dubnyk's way from near the blue line that went on to hit the post and find its way into the back of the net.

That shot marked Teravainen's first playoff goal since arriving in the NHL and proved to be the game-winner in the Blackhawks' 4-3 victory.

When asked if he was surprised that one went in, Teravainen answered "a little bit. I think that wasn't the biggest shot, but sometimes good things happen when I shoot.

[MORE: Teravainen nets winner as Blackhawks edge Wild in Game 1]

"It's a great feeling, of course. I just think I had to shoot more. I got the puck there and I just tried to shoot. Sometimes good things happen."

Teravainen's repeated those last two sentences over and over throughout the season: The more pucks on net, the better chance there is to score.

It's a simple philosophy, but one that's driven Teravainen's progress as his confidence has continued to grow throughout the season.

Any times of him being nervous to shoot or waiting for the "perfect play" are long gone, and his teammates are becoming more and more impressed with what they're seeing from him. 

"You can see that he's a special player with the way he handles the puck and the vision he has," Niklas Hjalmarsson said. "He does stuff sometimes in practice that kind of amazes you and you know what potential he has and what he's capable of. It's fun to see him get a goal today."

[RELATED: Five Things from Game 1: Blackhawks must play 60 minutes]

Patrick Sharp, who recorded the primary assist on that goal, said giving the puck to Teravainen in that situation was a no-brainer.

"I just wanted to get the puck in Teuvo's hands," Sharp said. "He's either gonna make a good shot or find an open player, so we're happy for him to score his first playoff goal and couldn't be better being the game-winner.

"You don't want to take any creativity out of his game, but this time of year you see the east-west plays, some of the stuff you can get away with in the regular season just isn't there. Especially against a team that's so well-coached like Minnesota. So simplifying a little bit, firing pucks on net — I don't think it was an overpowering shot, but he put it on net, off the post and in. So we'll take it."

On Friday night, Teravainen became the youngest Blackhawks player to record a postseason game-winning goal since Jeremy Roenick back in 1990. He's experienced plenty of success this season as his game has continued to develop and his teammates are excited to see what the future has in store for him.

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Teravainen has the skating skills and still-handling abilities to score the highlight-reel goals, but his ability to simplify his game is now helping him reach a whole new level of success with the Blackhawks.

As he says, sometimes that can lead to good things happening.

"He's a confident kid without the goal anyway," Sharp said. "You want to get the puck in his hands as much as you can. I know he's real happy about contributing offensively. He got us going in Nashville too. The way he played tonight, we're happy for him and hopefully he can continue going forward."

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

It was a rare sight to see the Blackhawks in a shootout on Wednesday night.

It was just the second time this season — and first time at the United Center — that the Blackhawks made it past 3-on-3 overtime. 

The last came on Dec. 2, 2017, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Stars in Dallas. On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks were on the other end, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a seven-round shootout. Nick Schmaltz netted the game-winner.

"We'll take it," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had a decent game tonight. Overtime not so good, I liked the shootout victory, Fors made some big saves for us particularly as the game got deeper. Our third was OK, I thought our first two were way better, and overtime we gave up some high quality, some bells were rings for a bit there. But it was nice to see the shootout win."

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, recording another multi-point game, his 16th of the season.

"I mean we need every point we can get at this point," Kane said. "There's still belief in this locker room. Obviously we need to go on quite a run and have a big record here down the stretch. But take it a game at a time and nice to get two points."

Anton Forsberg was a big reason the Blackhawks even recorded those two points. The 25-year-old netminder stopped 34 of 36 shots and made a handful of big saves down the stretch.

"It was really nice to get a win for sure," Forsberg said. "I would love to have a lot more wins, but right now just gotta look forward and get as many wins as possible."

Added Quenneville: "I think it was good for him to win a game the way he did. Lot of shots were on the line, as we progressed, got deeper, hitting the point first was big for him and for us and then finding a way to get the extra one was a good win."

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?